Dinner Table Excuses
Gather for this lesson: Fusion stuff, 6 chocolate bars, Decisions handout, 4-6 sheets of paper and pens
Key Scriptures
Isaiah 5:20-24
Matthew 5:37
Romans 1:20
Romans 2:1
It’s Your Move
Set Up Before you Start: Hook up computer to the TV and begin the Fusion clips & slides three minutes before the actual starting time (use the video countdown)


Set out a 6 pack of Hershey bars in a place where the youth can see them. Wait for the questions about “having one”. Make up some silly excuses for why they can’t have one like: “Those are from a nuclear fallout zone so, you can’t have them.” or “I licked all of those and rewrapped them.” or “I’m not sure it’s really chocolate so, we need to wait until their tested.” or “They’re 10 years old and become toxic after that amount of time.” or “I got these for a guy in a van – you don’t want them.”

Watch the reactions as you tell them the excuses. Then go straight to the Fusion portion about (7 min.)

After the Fusion portion…

Excuse Me!
Say: “The dog ate my homework.”
“My alarm clock didn’t go off.”
“I couldn’t get a ride.”
“I’m too busy.”
“I forgot.”

Ever hear one of these excuses from your friends? Ever use one of them yourself? Ever find yourself “To busy to make it to church a few hours TWO days a week” It’s easier to make excuses than to take responsibility for things. God invites each one of us to His table using many different settings. When you make excuses to miss more and more of his offerings, it’s just not a God-honoring way of conducting life. God wants us to be true to our word and conduct ourselves with no excuses.

• How did you feel as you heard all the excuses before the videos?
• What did you want to do by the time you heard the third or fourth excuse?

Moving In
Excuses, Excuses
Needed: two teams
How to Play: Start with 2 teams and a judge (spare adult). Both teams should sit together and compete in several rounds of coming up with creative excuses about a supplied list of topics.

1. Why you don’t have your homework to turn in.
2. Why you need a new pair of shoes.
3. Why you need to go to your friends house.
4. Why you can’t clean up your room.
5. Why you can’t take out the trash/mow the lawn/other chores.
6. Why do you need a cell phone.
7. Why a “D” isn’t good enough.
8. Why you should skip church.
9. Why you can’t invite friends to church.
10. Why you don’t need to have those friends.

Moving Up
But They All Began to Make Excuses.
Say: God invites each one of us to His table using many different settings. When you make excuses to miss more and more of his offerings, it’s just not a God-honoring way of conducting life. God wants us to be true to our word and conduct ourselves with no excuses.

Read: Luke 14:16-24
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.'”

• How do you think the way we feel about excuses is like the way God feels in this passage?
• How was God’s reaction similar to ours?
• What does the banquet represent?
• Who might miss out on the great heavenly feast?
• What excuses do people make for not having faith in Christ?
• What attitude do you think is at the heart of all those excuses?

Say: The kind of people Jesus hung out with were looked down upon as second class citizens by the Pharisees. The people Jesus hung out with were people of the land; they did not know the Torah – Jewish law. They were rift raft and common people, the lowest of the low.

The Pharisees could not understand why the common people, outcasts of society followed Jesus who claimed to be a scriptural Teacher. The kind of people Jesus ate with and fellowshipped with would not be tolerated in their homes.

Pharisees were as likely to invite common people to their table as Jocks would welcome any other lowly clique to their table. Jocks and dweebs don’t mix.

• Do you have a list of people you would sit down with and a list of people you would not invite to your table?
• Do you have a list of people who deserve to sit at God’s table?
• When God invites you to one of His tables, do you attend only when everything else is done?

Moving On
Imaginary Dinner Table
Needed: Imagination
Say: Imagine an item on a full dinner table and use it to represent an “excuse” for not coming to church. For example, someone might choose a saltshaker and say, “I can’t come to dinner right now. I’ve just made some corn on the cob and I need to eat it now.” Another person could think of a napkin and say, “Sorry. I don’t have time to come to dinner right now. I just heard about a good sale on napkins. I have to go buy several boxes before they run out.”

• If Jesus were to ask you to do something for him right now, what things in your life might tempt you to put Him off?
• What one thing can you control in your life that keeps you from coming to church?

Needed: Decisions Handout, pens
Rank the following decisions from easiest to make (1) to most difficult (15).
__ Doing homework or going somewhere with friends
__ How to spend your free time
__ What text pictures are appropriate
__ How to treat your parents when you’re in trouble
__ What clothes to wear
__ How often you go to church
__ Who you might want as a girlfriend of boyfriend
__ What to spend money on
__ How to talk to your boss/coach about time off for church
__ How to talk to your boss/coach about time off for school activities
__ What Internet sites you visit
__ What do to after high school and in the future
__ Who to hang out with
__ How to treat others
__ Never to forget/forgive what that one kid did to you

Discuss their hardest decisions as well as their easiest ones. Ask why some were more difficult than others and encourage them to share their decisions about other rankings.

Moving Out
No More Excuses
Needed: 4-6 sheets of paper and pens
Say: Instead of making excuses for not doing things the way we should, make wise decisions first that look at all of the hard options we face. Begin by considering the “pros”—reasons for doing something—and the “cons”—the reasons against doing something.

Consider the following scenario:
Joey is fifteen years old and does fairly well in school. She or He’s interested in sports, both as a participant and as a spectator. She/He has a chance for two different part-time jobs. She/He can choose only one of them. The first job would require working two to three hours every day after school. The other job would require her/him to work on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm until midnight.

If you were Joey, you could use a decision sheet for each job and write down all the “pros” and “cons” that you can think of. Be sure to look into the future with each decision as well.

Divide your group into two smaller groups. Give each of the smaller groups a piece of paper and pen. Have the groups divide it in half by drawing a line down the middle, then have them write the word PRO on the right side at the top, and the word CON on the left side at the top. Have half the group consider the first job, writing the “pros” and “cons.” Have the other half of the group consider the other job with its “pros” and “cons.” Allow approximately five minutes, and then discuss the following questions.

• Can one person effectively make a decision sheet for another? Why?
• What are some of the “pros” and “cons” for working after school that Joey might want to consider?
• What are some of the “pros” and “cons” for working on the weekends that should be considered?
• If Joey had the opportunity to work on Sunday and were to do a decision sheet, what factor should enter the decision making? (Not ignoring the “dinner tables” at church.)
• How can a decision sheet help you?

Say: This week try to choose at least one decision you must make and apply this idea to it. Use a decision sheet as you think it through and to ask the Lord for help and confirmation so that your decision is good and you don’t have to make excuses.

Gather in a closing circle.
Say: It’s wise to seek good advice and think about the consequences of your decisions. Everyone makes wrong choices. That’s normal and okay—the key is to learn from those mistakes. Sometimes there’s no obvious right or wrong decision. God may not have the answer you want—He’ll force you to make the choice. Bring your decisions before God and ask for His wisdom. Then make a decision based on what you know of God’s Word and move on, leaving poor decisions behind.

Big decisions are really a combination of little decisions. All the little dinners you attend for God lead to the feast that is coming. The choices you make today will set the foundation for your future. This week, work on making wise decisions about little things— you’ll be more confident when it is time to make important ones.
Dear God, Your wisdom is all around us but so hard to follow. We are weak and don’t always try to do Your will. Our lives change and circumstances make coming to Your meals ever harder. We know our excuses are weak. Help us always be ready to come to your table and do the work of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

UMYF Benediction
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you
And be gracious unto you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
And give you peace.



Discussion Guidelines
1. What is said in the room stays in this room.
Confidentiality is vital to a healthy discussion.

2. No put-downs.
Sarcasm and unkind remarks have no place in a discussion. If someone disagrees with another’s comment, they should raise a hand and express an opinion of the comment but not of the person who made it. It is permissible to attack ideas, but not each other.

3. There is no such thing as a dumb question.
Asking questions is the best way to learn.

4. No one is forced to talk.
Anyone can remain silent about any question.

5. Only one person talks at a time.
Each person’s opinion is worthwhile and deserves to be heard. Listening is an expression of respect.

The Rules:
• Be respectful of others
• Don’t be mean
• Keep your hands to yourself
• Stay in your seat
• Understand there is a time and a place for everything